The St. John’s Women’s Basketball team advances to the quarterfinal round of the BIG EAST Tournament after defeating Xavier, 65-57, in a wire-to-wire win on Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Leilani Correa, who was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team on Thursday, led the Red Storm in scoring, eclipsing the 20-point plateau for the ninth time this season. The Manchester, N.J., native converted on eight of her 15 attempts from the floor, including a 2-of-4 mark from distance. Correa also pulled down six rebounds in the Red Storm’s victory.
After leading St. John’s in scoring over the final three games of the regular season, Unique Drake finished with 15 points against the Musketeers. The Columbia, S.C., native crashed the glass well for St. John’s, grabbing a team-high seven rebounds while dishing out six assists.
Rayven Peeples joined Correa and Drake in double figures, chipping in 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor.
Kadaja Bailey stuffed the stat sheet for St. John’s, netting seven points. The Long Beach, N.Y., product also finished with a career-high eight assists and seven steals.
As a team, St. John’s tied a season-high for steals, finishing with 12 thefts on the afternoon.
St. John’s (8-14, 4-12 BIG EAST) dominated Xavier (5-10, 2-8 BIG EAST) in the early minutes of the first quarter, firing off an 11-2 run. The Red Storm extended its lead to double-digits, 15-4, with less than five minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The two programs traded blows down the stretch, with the Johnnies leading, 21-11, after 10 minutes of action.
St. John’s continued to dominate through the second stanza, ballooning its lead to 16, 36-20, at the intermission.
Correa led the way for the Red Storm in scoring at the half, netting 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor, converting on two of her four tries from beyond the arc.
The Musketeers unleashed a 14-1 run to open up the third quarter, cutting their deficit down to three, 37-34.
After going without a field goal for over five minutes, Camree Clegg finally broke through for the Red Storm, draining a shot from beyond the arc. Shortly after, Drake finished at the rim on the fast break, growing St. John’s advantage back up to eight, 42-34.
Xavier outscored the Johnnies over the remainder of third quarter, pulling the score within four, 44-40, entering the final 10 minutes of action.
Drake drained a triple to open up the final frame, igniting an 8-2 run for the Johnnies, growing their lead back up to double-digits, 52-42.
With 33 ticks left on the clock, the Musketeers cut the Red Storm’s lead down to five. That was as close as they would get as St. John’s secured the win.
The Red Storm will return to action tomorrow (Saturday), as the Johnnies take on the top-seeded Connecticut Huskies in the quarterfinals. Tipoff is slated for noon on FS1.
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